Legal separation is an option available to you if you wish to end your relationship but stay married on paper. There are many reasons this solution may appeal to you, including benefits that are only available to you if you stay married in the eyes of the law. Exploring all of the benefits of a legal separation compared to a divorce in California can help you decide which option is right for you and your family. For legal advice tailored to your specific needs, contact a divorce lawyer in San Diego.
How Is Legal Separation Different From Divorce?
A divorce is a legal decree that effectively ends a marriage. It dissolves a marital contract, making both spouses single and unmarried on paper. A legal separation, on the other hand, does not legally end a marriage or domestic partnership. After obtaining a legal separation, you and your spouse will still technically be married. However, you will receive several benefits and freedoms, such as the ability to live apart and have a court order determining things such as property division and child visitation.
Why Do Couples Legally Separate?
Both legal separation and divorce in California require the same legal paperwork. Like a divorce, you and your spouse will have to reach a settlement agreement or go before a judge to get legally separated in California. However, legal separation can come with certain benefits that you may not get with a traditional divorce.
There are many reasons couples in San Diego choose to legally separate, including:
- To establish a specific date of separation. In California, the family courts cannot touch property that is classified as separate property during a divorce case. If a couple legally separates, any assets or debts acquired by either spouse after this date will be classified as separate property. This can protect it from being divided in half under California’s community property law should the couple ever divorce.
- To obtain an enforceable court order. Making a break-up or separation legal by filing the correct paperwork can come with the advantage of creating an enforceable court order for matters such as child custody and child support. Having a court order can prevent your spouse from failing to meet his or her part of the agreement. Legal separation can also give you the time to communicate and come to a settlement before getting divorced.
- Insurance or employment benefits. One of the most common reasons for legal separation in California is to allow one or both spouses to retain certain benefits that are only available if they stay married – such as insurance, retirement or Social Security benefits through one spouse’s job – while still officially ending the relationship.
- Religious reasons. If you do not wish to get a divorce due to religious sanctions against dissolution of marriage, getting a legal separation can achieve many of the same results and allow you to lead a separate life without going against your religious beliefs.
- In case of reconciliation. Finally, a couple may choose to legally separate instead of getting divorced if they believe there is a chance for reconciliation. Some couples see legal separation as a cooling-off period, after which they may be able to work through their differences. It is cheaper and easier to end a legal separation than it is to get remarried after a divorce is finalized if you work things out.
If you are wondering whether legal separation or divorce is the right move for you and your family, consult with a divorce lawyer in San Diego for advice you can trust. A lawyer will listen to your story, analyze your specific case and guide you toward the correct path. If you do wish to legally separate from your spouse in San Diego, an attorney can help you with all of the required paperwork and legal processes, protecting your rights each step of the way. Contact Boyd Law today for more information about your case.